Why Your Dimmer Switch is Buzzing, And Answers to You Other Dimmer Switch Questions

dimmer switch is buzzing

It only takes one power outage to remind us how important lighting is to a room. It can dictate your ability to complete certain tasks, set the tone of the room, and even affect your mood.

Lighting has the ability to completely change the look and feel of the entire room. Installing dimmer switches is a great way to change up your existing lighting, and thus change the functionality of the room. However, like anything in your home, if the dimmer switches aren’t functioning properly it can be annoying or even concerning. Sometimes, homeowners notice that their dimmer switch is buzzing or humming, the lights are flickering, or they aren’t dimming properly. Here are answers to the most common questions about dimmer switches.

The Problem: The dimmer switch is buzzing or humming.

The Solution: Update your dimmer rating.

When humming or buzzing is coming from the dimmer itself, that may be a sign of an overload. This means that the circuit connected to the dimmer switch is attempting to handle too much power. If there are several bulbs in the fixture, removing some of them is an easy way to troubleshoot and reduce the potential overload. If you remove the bulbs and the buzzing stops, that means that it’s time for an upgrade. Call a local licensed electrician to help you find the proper replacement for this dimmer switch.

The Problem: The light fixture connected to a dimmer switch is buzzing or humming.

The Solution: Change the bulbs.

Most often, buzzing coming from the fixture itself is usually related to the type of lightbulb you’re using. You might just need to replace the existing lightbulbs with new bulbs that have a shorter filament or lower wattage. Also, most older dimmer switches are not rated for use with LED bulbs, so be sure to pair the right bulb with your dimmer switch. CFL bulbs can also cause problems with your dimmer, so if you insist on using CFLs, make sure they’re rated as dimmable and your dimmer switch can pair with them.

The Problem: The dimmer switch is making the lights pop on, cut out, or flicker.

The Solution: Change the bulbs.

Not all bulbs are dimmable, so make sure the ones in your fixture are. Like we mentioned above, not all types of bulbs are compatible with all dimmer switches. For example, some dimmer switches do not work properly when a LED bulb is installed. If your dimmer switch isn’t dimming the lights properly, chances are that the switch and the bulbs just aren’t meant to be friends.

The Problem: The dimmer switch is hot to the touch.

The Solution: Upgrade the dimmer switch.

It can be normal for a dimmer switch to be a little warm when it is on, however if the switch is hot to the touch, it is likely that it is overloaded. There are a couple solutions that could remedy this. First, you could upgrade the dimmer switch. Some dimmer switches are rated to handle 1000-1500 watts. This is usually the simplest solution. Secondly, you could try switching out the bulbs to LEDs or CFLs which us less energy than incandescent. However, if you go this route just remember that not all dimmer switches play well with all types of bulbs, even if the bulbs are dimmable. Lastly, you could rewire the lights. Especially if the dimmer switch controls several fixtures (say, track lighting), splitting up the lights on two different dimmer switches would solve the problem. This solution requires the help of a licensed electrician.

Need Help?

Dimmer switches are a great way to set the ambiance in a room, or just save on your energy bill. If your dimmer switches aren’t behaving properly, give us a call – we can help!

LED Lighting: A Bright Idea

led lighting

LED lighting is quickly becoming the lighting type of choice for many homeowners. And why wouldn’t it be? It can lower your energy costs, help the environment, and illuminate your home with a clear, bright light. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making the switch to LED lighting.

LEDs come in a range of light temperatures.

A few years ago, switching to LED lighting meant quite literally “going green.” That is, the light cast from most LED bulbs appeared greenish. While that isn’t the case today, LEDs do have a range of light color temperatures. This means that each lightbulb has a Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), which corresponds to a temperature on the Kelvin (K) scale. The lower the number of Kelvins, the warmer and more yellow the light will appear. The higher the number of Kelvins, the bluer the light will appear.

Understanding this range of light temperatures can help you customize your lighting even more. Deciding which light color to use in which fixtures is a matter of personal preference. Lower Kelvins, or bulbs that are labeled “natural white” or “cool white” would be great for general ambient light. Higher Kelvins, or “daylight” bulbs would be perfect for more focused light, such as for a bedside reading lamp.

LEDs use a lot less energy.

LEDs are able to use so much less energy than incandescent bulbs because LED lighting converts 95% of energy consumed into light. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, convert only 10% of energy into light. The remaining 90% of energy used by incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat. Not only does this mean that LED bulbs are going to put off much less heat, but they’re able to provide just as much light with a fraction of the amount of energy as an incandescent bulb.

LEDs will save a lot of money in the long run.

When LEDs first came on the market, it seemed that only the true tree hugger wanted to use them. They were expensive and there weren’t a lot of options. Today, however, the prices are dropping quickly, and they won’t set you back too much more than incandescent bulbs.

The way you should really think about LEDs are more of a long-term investment. So, while the upfront cost will be a bit higher (though not much more) than other bulbs, they will last years longer and use a lot less energy during this time.

If you are planning to live in your home for at least two more years, you’ll get your money back from the LEDs you install today. For example, if you spend $6 on an LED bulb for your kitchen and use that bulb every day for the next two years, you’ll get your money back through a savings on your energy bill. It’s predicted that by swapping out an incandescent bulb for an LED, you’ll reduce the amount of energy consumption by 70-90%. These savings can really add up, especially when you consider the lifespan of an LED, which is impressive on its own. Most incandescent bulbs only last 1-2 years, but some LEDs can last two DECADES, or even longer.

LEDs can be dimmable.

We say that LEDs “can be” dimmable because there is a bit of a catch here. Most LEDs are dimmable, but not all LEDs are going to be compatible with your current dimmer switch. If you are planning to install a new dimmer, be sure it says that it supports LED lighting. Dimmers designed for incandescent bulbs will often cause LEDs to flicker, hum, or buzz.

Still have questions?

White’s Electrical can help. Whether you want to install an LED-compatible dimmer switch, or retrofit your office building for LED lighting, White’s can get it done. Our team of licensed electricians is continually trained, with access to cutting-edge technology and tools. They can complete any size electricaljob quickly, efficiently, and most of all safely.

Designing a Space with Edison Bulbs

Edison bulbs
In recent years, we’ve seen a huge upswing in popularity of Edison light bulbs. You know the kind – the ones with the golden glow, antique look, and café feel. They’re popping up everywhere! They’re a great way to set the stage for events or the perfect lighting for settings around the home. But, like anything, Edison bulbs have their own benefits and drawbacks.

What are Edison Bulbs?

There’s a good reason why Edison-style lighting has become so popular recently – it’s art! Working like an incandescent, their filaments and bulbs are curved into unique and fascinating shapes. The wire inside creates a fiery glow, emitting a warm, golden light showing off their distinctive beauty.

There is a “not so bright” side to Edison bulbs, though. You’ll most often see Edison bulbs used in an area that doesn’t need as much functional light as ambiance lighting. This is because Edison lights just aren’t as bright as other standard incandescent bulbs or LEDs. If you install Edison bulbs for task lighting, such as in a bathroom vanity, you’ll be disappointed. But, install them as accent lighting over a dining table, and you’ll create a warm, inviting space.

If you opt for vintage-style Edison bulbs over standard bulbs, you can expect to lose quite a bit of luminosity. A 60-watt Edison bulb emits roughly half the lumens as an A19 incandescent. And, because Edison bulbs also have a lower/warmer color temperature than standard bulbs, their orangey-glow doesn’t fully illuminate the room, rather than emphasize their amber glass casing.

Another consideration when designing a space with Edison lighting is that the bulbs are less efficient than modern LEDs and CFLs. They give off the majority of light as heat, so they may not be ideal for people trying to keep their home temperature cooler. Edison bulbs are also notoriously easy to break, so they may not be a good match for homes with pets or kids, or in areas where they could be easily bumped. In addition, Edison bulbs are typically over twice the price as standard bulbs.

When to Use Edison Bulbs

If you want to create the perfect ambiance, Edison Bulbs might be worth the added costs. After all, they instantly add a unique, vintage ambiance to the room. Just don’t expect them to fully illuminate an area where you really need to be able to see. Simply put, they may not be the right choice for every room.

Edison bulbsIf you love the look of Edison bulbs (and let’s be honest, of course you do), but want a longer lasting bulb, you may want to consider LED filament bulbs. They bear a similar look but use LED light emitters in the bulb. LED filament bulbs offer 15,000 life hours as opposed to the 1,000 hours of incandescent Edison bulbs. (However, for comparison, a typical LED boasts a 50,000-hour life.) In some rooms, it may make sense to mix Edison bulbs with other light fixtures at higher positions (like the photo at the right) for a versatile lighting mix that meets the needs of various activities.

Tips for Adding Edison Bulbs to Your Décor

• Hang Edison bulbs at varying lengths over your dining table.
• Use Edison-style lights to add visual appeal to clean, modern designs.
• Install Edison bulbs in the living room on a dimmer switch to dial-in the perfect amount of light to set the mood.
• String outdoor-rated lights from your patio fence or along walkways to create a warm ambiance.
• Consider Edison-style LED string lights for added durability and versatility.

Make Old New Again

Edison bulbs are being used in homes, stores, and restaurants everywhere! They’re a great way to incorporate a vintage feel into minimalist design and instantly add functional art.

For more information about using lighting to create a beautiful home, contact the lighting design experts at White’s Electrical today.

What are the Differences between LED and Fluorescent Light Bulbs?

Fluorescent lights bulbs LED lights bulbs Whites Electrical Indianapolis Electrician Indy Electrician Mooresville Indiana Electrician

What goes through your head when you need a light bulb? Probably not much, except dollar signs. In this blog, we compare the differences between LED and fluorescent light bulbs and discuss the cost benefits of each.

Advantages of LED Light Bulbs

If you’re concerned primarily with initial costs, LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, likely won’t be your first choice. They are initially more expensive than fluorescent light bulbs. However, they last longer. LEDs have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. As an added benefit, they maintain their brightness as they age, so they won’t ever dim.

Not only LEDs long lasting, but they are also energy efficient. Compared to traditional lighting, LEDs have an estimated energy efficiency of 80 to 90 percent. They also contain nontoxic materials, as opposed to some fluorescent bulbs, and are 100 percent recyclable, which lessens their carbon footprint.

Also unlike fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs emit very little UV emissions and infrared light. Too much exposure to UV and infrared light can be detrimental to your health and safety. LED bulbs also have a lower risk of producing fires and burnt fingers because they release a minimal amount of heat

Another advantage to LED bulbs is their ability to provide instant light, right as they are turned on. Some fluorescents, on the other hand, take a couple minutes to reach maximum brightness.

LED Light Bulb Disadvantages

As mentioned, LED bulbs are more expensive than other lighting choices. This is because they require more manufacturing technologies and sophisticated engineering since they’re a directional light (the diodes emit light in a single direction as opposed to fluorescents, which emit light 360°. LED light bulbs are also sensitive to changes in temperatures and are more prone to overheat in high temperatures.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Advantages

The biggest draw for fluorescent bulbs is their low cost. Initially, they cost less than LEDs. Many consumers would rather pay a small amount every so often than pay a large amount all at once. Consumers are also drawn to fluorescents because of their convenience.

Fluorescent bulbs are the all-in-one bulb. They can easily light up a full room because they emit light in every direction. And for this reason, they work better in lamps than LEDs. The same bulb can be used in ceiling lamps and in the garage — in other words, they’re more adaptable; specialized bulbs need not be purchased for specific applications.

Fluorescent bulbs are also popular because they can last for upwards of 10,000 hours, and many times they come with a warranty of only one or two years. While the lifespan pales in comparison to LEDs, it is nonetheless much longer than the lifespan of traditional incandescent bulbs.

Like LEDs, fluorescents are also energy efficient, though not quite to the same degree. Because fluorescent bulbs are meant to be used for long periods, they use 75 percent less energy and 90 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Disadvantages

Though fluorescents initially cost less than LEDs, they cost more over their lifetime because they consume more energy and burn our faster. They’re also easier to break than LEDs.

Another disadvantage to fluorescent bulbs is that they contain mercury. The mercury is harmless until the bulb breaks. When that happens, mercury is released as a vapor, which can be inhaled or settle into fabric. If a person comes in contact with enough mercury, it can lead to poisoning.

Fluorescent bulbs also emit UV radiation. Usually, a protective coating absorbs the UV light, but the UV can escape if a “light leak”  occurs when the protective coating is damaged or begins to peel off.

If you’re interested in LED lighting for your home or business, call Whites Electrical in Indianapolis. We specialize in LED retrofitting and can get your home or business up to an energy-efficient standard.